Mobile Technology

Google to take on iPhone, Galaxy S III with Motorola X Phone

It's unlikely that anyone outside of Google and Motorola knows what the phone will look like
It's unlikely that anyone outside of Google and Motorola knows what the phone will look like
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It's unlikely that anyone outside of Google and Motorola knows what the phone will look like
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It's unlikely that anyone outside of Google and Motorola knows what the phone will look like
Samsung threatens to overshadow Android
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Samsung threatens to overshadow Android
Google saw something it liked in Samsung's Apple-mocking campaign
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Google saw something it liked in Samsung's Apple-mocking campaign

When Google bought Motorola, most assumed that it was for the patents. Moto could still be a valuable weapon in the courtroom, but the search giant is also ready to wield it in the smartphone market. According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is developing a new Motorola flagship, codenamed the X Phone.

Details

Google is developing the phone to take on Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy S product lines. It wants the device to "stand apart from existing phones," and has experimented with top-notch camera and photo software, bendable screens, and ceramics. But the company ran into obstacles, including poor battery life and supply chain issues. It isn't clear what differentiating features it's moving forward with.

Google CEO Larry Page reportedly told the X Phone team to "think big," and strive for Samsung's level of success. The company is also focusing its product line, reducing its smartphone footprint to several Verizon Droid devices and the X Phone. This reflects a similar trend in Google, as Page united the company's software and media sales into the Google Play brand, and cut many of its smaller services.

Playing with fire

Samsung threatens to overshadow Android
Samsung threatens to overshadow Android

Up to this point, Google has been hesitant to put too many eggs in the Motorola-Android basket. It doesn't want to alienate rival Android manufacturers, turning them to other platforms or forked (no Google apps) versions of Android.

Google, however, is preparing for the worst. Samsung is the only company profiting significantly from Android. Samsung could hypothetically shut the door on Google, using its own apps for email, maps, and messaging. This would threaten Google's mobile advertising revenue. Consider the X Phone an insurance policy.

Selling with the best

Google saw something it liked in Samsung's Apple-mocking campaign
Google saw something it liked in Samsung's Apple-mocking campaign

Non-Samsung Android manufacturers' struggles, however, can't necessarily be traced to a lack of quality. HTC's One X, LG's Optimus G, and Motorola's own Razr Maxx HD were generally well-received, but they haven't been huge sellers.

To take on Apple and Samsung, the X Phone will need an advertising campaign that resonates with regular (non-geek) customers. Google apparently knows this, and is ready to invest heavily in marketing the device.

Motorola also reportedly poached Brian Wallace, who was one of Samsung's top marketing execs. He was instrumental in Samsung's popular Apple-customer-mocking campaign.

Coming soon

Despite the X Phone team's obstacles, the device is set to launch sometime in 2013. Google is also planning an X Tablet, which would launch sometime after that.

Sources: Wall Street Journal, AllThingsD

13 comments
Wiseguy
Motorola already have a phone that's better than the iPhone, it's called the RAZR HD.
Oztechi
Google is taking a big risk here by potentially annoying the brands that are loyal to Android. Motorola's software that they lay over Android is terrible, slow, buggy, and takes up too much space (some phones could not be updated because they lacked the memory to run both Android and Motorola bloatware together). So that will need fixing. It is not just a phone and its spec's that you are selling to the customer, Apple sells a massive music and apps library and has other new gimmicks to get people to upgrade like Siri, which it bought. So Google will need some kind of gimmick that people really want - the reason phones sell is desirability, not need or quality.
Inappropriate Response
"Motorola already have a phone that's better than the iPhone, it's called the RAZR HD." This is a classic example of cognative bias. The verge - iPhone 5 (8.8) Razr hd (7.6) Tech radar - iPhone 5 (4.5) Razr hd (4) Cnet - iPhone 5 (4). Razr hd (4) Hothardware - iPhone 5 (4.5) Razr hd (4) " cognitive bias is a pattern of deviation in judgment that occurs in particular situations, which may sometimes lead to perceptual distortion, inaccurate judgment, illogical interpretation, or what is broadly called irrationality. It result from a lack of appropriate mental mechanisms (bounded rationality), or simply from a limited capacity for information processing. "
Ed Yee
Sooner or later, Motorola is going to make the Nexus phone. Google has already use HTC, Samsung and LG to build its Nexus phones. Google now knows exactly what these manufactures could or could not do. Nexus 4 is a great phone and in short supply since its release. Nexus 5 might be the one to watch out for if Motorola is going to build it.
Daishi
@Wiseguy The Razr HD is nice but still not quite as good as the S3 that came out before it.
sunfly
1) is this not the reason Google bought Motorola? 2) Samsung is a marketing machine, with marketing approaching 12 billion a year (no other tech company comes close). If memory serves this is about a year of Googles profit. www.asymco.com/2012/11/29/the-cost-of-selling-galaxies/
Wiseguy
@Inappropriate Response, I'm sure I could find websites that were Android biased to prove Motorola is better. How's the NFC working for you? What about the maps? Directed you into any lakes lately? You can always install Google maps. No need to be embarrassed. @Diachi, Yeah the S3 is nice, bit too big for my liking. The build quality isn't as good as the Motorola. I like the clean look of the RAZR, no buttons on the front. Carbon fibre on the back. Pretty sweet.
Inappropriate Response
@wiseguy actually those are the first 5 sites that come up with google search that have a star rating to show the comparison, but thinking that i've specifically searched out pro apple sites doesn't surprise me.
ivan1973
Apple is out of the game, so its left with Samsung and Android. Its a good hardware manufacturer but not mobile OS. This is why Samsung is slao making windows phone, as an insurance. Would Google sit around there letting Samsung reap fat profit from Android? No. It's time Google make its final move - release a Samsung killer.
Nicolas Zart
While this product will be nice, no catch up product ever surpasses the first one on the block. This is something Google just can't seem to wrap its head around. It's sad because Google has the resource, the financial means and energy to truly sit down and innovate but instead chooses to beat the best product out there. Stop copying and improving, start innovating I say!